The Tarot Professional is blessed with an amazing gift, and with that comes an equally amazing responsibility. The Tarot Professional carries the weight of being seen not only as an authority on a subject whose very history is filled with mystery, speculation and misinformation, but to whom the average audience - subconsciously or otherwise - views as someone psychically "in the know." Our words carry immense weight. How many times have we all heard "A long time ago, a psychic told me this would happen..." It is essential to be cautious, even slow, choosing each word carefully in any reading situation. Our words are heard far beyond the time of the initial reading, and carry a psychological weight of great power that must be considered, acknowledged and respected. Careless words from a reader can all too easily be transformed by a client into an unconscious pre-determination.
Part of this responsibility is due to what I like to call the "Magic Genie Factor," the mistaken belief by a client that a tarot reader can see into a future of black and white, where lovers can be forced to return; where prosperity arrives without effort; where the human element of choice is all but erased amid concepts of "destiny" and "fate." Quite often, the uninformed client innocently and willingly puts their lives, and their discernment, into the hands of their reader, however poorly qualified and undeserving.
It is a sacred trust that the client places in the Tarot Professional's hands, and one to be treated with the utmost honor and respect. This is why I believe a professional Code of Ethics is essential, at the very least showing that the Tarot Professional has considered each situation described in each tenet of the Code, and will not be caught off-guard by common inappropriate phrasing or uncomfortable situations. At best, it shows the reader is prepared to behave in an ethical and professional manner - always for the highest good of the client.
This Code of Ethics carries over into professional associations, as well. As long as there are no government licenses or required certification procedures, the educational, technical and ethical backgrounds of tarot readers will be as different as the individual. Potential clients are left to their own to decipher which readers are qualified to be reading, often having no idea what questions to ask or where to look for professionals, as evidenced by the booming business of 900 numbers and tiny studios with flashing red palm signs.
With the diversity and different levels of experience that each reader brings to the table, we must be conscious of letting professionals discover their own path, as well. One of the roles of a reader is to inform the client of their options, not choose for them, and this necessarily carries over into how we interact with peers of differing ethical standards. It is easy to become indignant and even offended by readers we feel show less than our standards of professionalism to their client, telling them what choices to make, doing readings on others, giving legal or medical advice, etc. Showing respect and courtesy when dealing with anyone, peers or otherwise, is essential if we are to establish, and deserve, a positive reputation as Professionals in this community.
When writing and publishing on the subject of Tarot, or any metaphysical subject for that matter, one takes on a responsibility even greater. In this age of information, data is transferred between sources at the speed of light, and misinformation seems to travel even faster. The printed word carries its own authority, and the era of needing "two confirmed sources" seems to be long gone.
That being said, and considering the "Magic Genie Factor," simply giving credit where credit is due and citing information properly is just not enough. The Tarot Professional writer is not only contributing to the lexicon of literature available, but may be the one-stop-shop for any tarot novice innocently researching the subject. As history, philosophies, and methodology are all up for debate in this industry, there is a heavy responsibility for the writer to site any subject in an objective manner, and to leave their own opinions, judgments and conclusions for the OpEd page.
The process to gain the respected status that Tarot Professionals so richly deserve begins, as it always does, at home. It is up to each of us to do the right thing, respecting clients and peers alike, to focus our energy onto our own journey and leave others to their own paths, and remembering, as always, that we are only the messenger.